President Hage Geingob on Wednesday officially opened the 2021 legal year, where he emphasised his commitment to ensuring that the judiciary remains independent and impartial in serving Namibians.Geingob, in his virtual remarks said while the judiciar…
President Hage Geingob on Wednesday officially opened the 2021 legal year, where he emphasised his commitment to ensuring that the judiciary remains independent and impartial in serving Namibians.
Geingob, in his virtual remarks said while the judiciary has for the past 30 years impeccably served the Namibian public with integrity, there is a growing discontent from the public in the manner justice is delivered, something which he said requires introspection on all fronts.
The president noted that a wide selection of society lacks access to legal services and to the courts.
Geingob added that while government acknowledges that limited resources have had a negative effect on the ability of the judiciary to execute its mandate with speed and fairness, officials should learn to do more with less.
“We must understand that in times of economic challenges, it is the most vulnerable members of our society who suffer. In this regard, our judiciary must increasingly become an indispensable and integral role player in the fight against poverty, corruption and inequality. The provision of free legal advice has the ability to keep a family in its home and may help save a woman or a child from exploitation and abuse,” he said, while encouraging private legal practitioners to do more pro bono work through outreach programmes in remote areas where the need is the greatest.
He further called for continued dialogue so that the most appropriate solutions can be found in the midst of existing financial constraints.
Speaking at the same event, Chief Justice Peter Shivute said the urgent task facing the institution is to ensure that the courts continue to run and to clear the backlog that has arisen from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I wish to assure the public and the users of court services that the judiciary will weather the storm created by COVID-19 and will ensure that you are able to access court services and in a safe environment,” Shivute said.